|Excerpts from JOURNEY INTO PRAYER|
|Mother M. Angelica
God's Love for Me.
The word "Prayer means many things to many people. To some it means asking for "things"—for health or success. To others, it means repentance, imploring God's Mercy for their sins and infidelities. Prayer is Praise and Thanksgiving to many and to the majority it is a cry in times of distress.
Prayer is all these things, but it is more. It is Union of Love: God's Love and your love; it is an awareness of God's love for you—His personal love. To understand this love, reflect a few moments on the following thoughts:
1. God loves me as if no one else existed.
Scripture Readings: (Read prayerfully)
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; so I am constant in My affection for you." Jer.31:3
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; Do not be afraid, for I am with you to protect you." Jer. 1:1
"Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget I will never forget you. See, I have branded you on the palms of My hands, your walls are always under my eyes." Isaiah 49:15
"I have chosen you; stop being anxious and watchful, for I am your God. I give you strength, I bring you help, I uphold you with my victorious right hand. Yes, all those who rage against you shall be put to shame and confusion; they who fought against you shall be destroyed and perish. I am your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you: Do not be afraid, I will help you." Isaiah 41:10)
"In your old age I shall still be the same; When your hair is gray I shall still support you. I have already done so, I have carried you, I shall still support and deliver you." Isaiah 46:4.
As I begin to realize God's tremendous love, I feel a need to return that love—a desire to be washed clean of everything within me that is not like God. I look at the perfect image of the Father, Christ, and realize I am not like Him. The resemblance is faint and I want it to be more perfect.
What do I do—what stands in the way of my becoming another Christ? Christ is within me, waiting for me to let Him shine forth. What dark clouds stand between Christ and me, preventing my neighbor from seeing God's Son?
For a few moments let us compare ourselves with Christ I am proud; I attribute everything I do to myself, my talents, my success, my works, but Jesus gave credit to the Father for all His work. He said, "The Son can do nothing by Himself" John 5:19 so I will radiate Christ by acknowledging all the good in me as coming from Jesus. (Pause)
I am critical; I find fault with my neighbor, misjudging his motives, but Jesus said, "If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone." John 8:7
I am fearful: I fear death, loneliness, sickness, failure and the future. but Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled, I am going now to prepare a place for you" (Jn. 14:1) "Come to Me...and I will give you rest" (Matt.11:28) so I will radiate Christ by acting upon His Word and having assurance He will take care of me. (Pause)
I find it hard to forgive and forget, but Jesus said, "If you forgive others their failings, your Heavenly Father will forgive you yours, but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your failings either" (Matt.6:14-16) so I will radiate Christ by being the first to forgive and show by some gesture of reconciliation I have forgotten. (Pause)
You have just compared your actions with the actions of Jesus. Now for a few moments give the Spirit the opportunity to take away your inner burdens and disturbing memories, those feelings that keep you from fully radiating Christ. Close your eyes and take Jesus by the hand. Look at whatever disturbs you but look at it through the eyes of Jesus. See with His eyes; love with His Heart; and forgive with His Mercy.
Scripture Readings (Read prayerfully)
"Come now, let us talk this over, says God. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
"I myself taught them to walk; I took them in my arms; yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them. I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love. I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek; stooping down to him I gave him his food. How could I part with you? How could I give you up? My heart recoils from it—My whole being trembles at the thought." Osee 1:18
"They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. Their soul will be like a watered garden, they will sorrow no more. I will change their mourning into gladness, comfort them, give them joy after their troubles, refresh my priests with rich food and see my people have their fill of my good things. Jer. 31:9
"I did forget you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back. In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says God, your Redeemer." Isaiah 54:8
In Heaven we will see God face to face—so faith falls away. In Heaven we will possess God—so hope falls away. In Heaven we will love God as He loves Himself—so love remains. Faith, Hope and Love on earth—and Vision, Possession and Union with God in Heaven—are not two separate lives we live, but merely two stages of the same life.
On earth we are given Faith—to see God now. On earth we are given Hope—to possess God now. On earth we are given Love—to grow in union with God now. The Kingdom of Heaven begins now—and varies only in degree.
Reflect a few moments on each of the following thoughts:
The Blessed Trinity made their home in me at Baptism I must realize their Presence.
Through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, received in Confirmation, I was given the power to witness, by holiness of life, to His Presence among us.
I must accept the healing power of Penance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as ointment for deep-rooted faults.
Am I conscious of the Abiding Presence of Jesus in my soul after the Sacred Species of the Eucharist is gone?
I must listen as God speaks to my soul through good thoughts, inspirations and intuitions.
I have been chosen by God to become a Saint; this is His Will.
I am destined to be eternally happy. I shall begin now—for all of Heaven lives in me.
Scripture Readings: (Read prayerfully)
"We are only earthenware jars that hold this treasure—to make it clear that such an overwhelming power comes from God, and not from us." 2 Cor. 4:7
"May He enlighten the eyes of your mind so you can see what hope His call holds for you, what rich glories He has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that He has exercised for us believers." Eph. 1:18
"Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and in all things give thanks to God." "May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and He will not fail you." 1 Thes. 5:17,23
"We, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect: this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18
If I am to love my neighbor as myself, I must first arrive at an understanding of my own dignity: my soul is immortal, it was created to the image and likeness of God, it was redeemed by the life and death of God's Son and through grace it is the dwelling place of the Trinity. I am a child of God, destined for Eternal Glory; therefore, I am important to God because of all He has done for me.
For creating my soul to Your image and likeness—I Thank You O My God.
At Baptism I received grace—that quality that makes me share in the very nature of God. If I could see a soul clothed with grace, it would be a thing of such beauty and splendor that I would think it was God. I am made holy with the very holiness of God. I am never alone for I always possess within me the Three Divine Persons, who abide with me and live in me.
My duty to myself consists in strengthening my Faith by a daily effort to become more aware of this Divine Indwelling; in a greater assurance (Hope) that Jesus in me will bear fruit in plenty; and in a deeper understanding of the transforming Love of the Holy Spirit.
Scripture Readings: (Read prayerfully)
"I saw you struggling in your blood as I was passing, and I said to you: Live, and grow like the grass of the field. You developed and grew but you were quite naked. Then I saw you as I was passing. Your time had come—the time for love. I spread part of My cloak over you (chosen) and covered your nakedness; I bound myself by oath, I made a covenant with you (supernatural life through Baptism); it is the Lord God who speaks, and you were mine. I bathed you in water, I washed the blood off you, I anointed you with oil (Confirmation), I gave you embroidered dresses (Grace), fine leather shoes, a linen headband, and a cloak of silk. I loaded you with jewels (Gifts of the Holy Spirit), gave you bracelets for your wrists and a necklace for your throat. I put a beautiful diadem on your head. You were more and more beautiful because I had clothed you with My own splendor." Ezekiel 16:6-14
When Christ took upon Himself our human nature, He became flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone—and so it is in the Family. Each member of the family belongs in a special way to the other members—and to Christ. My relationship to my family must be one of love and humble obedience. I must give myself generously and totally, without sparing and without reserve.
God has given me a special mission to my Family, which I alone can fulfill. I must encourage, uphold, forbear, excuse, love and "be among them as one who serves." I cannot bring Christ to my neighbor and to the world if I have not first given Him to my Family.
That I may appreciate what the members of my family do for me—Lord Show
Me The Way.
God has destined from all Eternity that I belong to the family in which He has placed me. I need them and they need me. Each one of us helps the others to become holy and thus fulfill our eternal destiny. I must realize that the differences in temperament, opinions and personalities between us present opportunities to fashion and develop my character by the way in which I use them. I owe my family my loyalty, devotion and prayer, that we may together attain the fullness of Christ.
Scripture Readings: (Read prayerfully)
"Give way to one another in obedience to Christ. Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything. Husband`, should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her in water with a form of words, so that when He took her to Himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that but holy and faultless."...
"Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord—that is your duty. The first Commandment that has a promise attached to it is: 'Honor your father and mother, and the,. promise is: 'you will prosper and have a long life in the land.'" Eph. 5:21-6:4
"A new Commandment I give you—that you love one another as I love you."
It is easy to keep this Commandment if I realize that the same life-giving principle runs through each of us and we are bound together in Christ through the Love of the Holy Spirit—living, growing and developing together.
Thoughts that may help me to develop a deeper love for my neighbor.
If I cannot excuse his actions, let me at least not judge his motives.
I must endure the faults of others calmly and kindly taking into account the beam in my own eye.
I will try to discover the good in my neighbor even though it may be eclipsed by many faults. I must persevere in doing good even in the face of ingratitude.
I will adapt myself to the mentalities, preferences and needs of my neighbor and acquire the habit of listening. In imitation of Christ I will sacrifice myself generously for the good of others.
When anyone arouses my anger, I will immediately pray for them and regain my peace of soul.
Electronic Copyright © 1999 EWTN
Provided Courtesy of: